All That Jazz

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Last night I was coaxed away from my usual Friday night routine– coming home and crashing on the couch. Instead my wife and I went to a jazz concert at a local high school. A good friend has been telling us for 2 years how good the jazz performed by these high school students really is. I have been assuming that she was listening with rose colored–damn I got no analogy for this but you know what I mean. Her son is a drummer, now with the top level school jazz band.

Well it turns out she was right. The frosh and sophs were just OK but once the top 3 levels came on stage real music appeared. I was surprised at not just the proficiency of the performers but the maturity in the sound coming from several of the soloists.

I am a jazz fan, have been for years. I prefer to listen to good jazz rested. Really good jazz should be experienced when all the senses are at the ready, your awareness is heightened and your imagination open. Only then can you hear, feel, sense and dream the music as the notes surround you and take you on their journey.

This Friday like most. I was dog tired. Yet the bands were good enough that much got through. Far better than the date with my TIVO I had planned.

This event was more than a concert to impress parents with the progress their sons and daughters have made so far. These kids are raising money and collecting instruments to be donated to schools in New Orleans that lost theirs in the aftermath of Katrina. In my are like many well off locales the instruments are owned by the students. In the poorer areas of NOLA the schools owned the instruments. What better connection for a group of budding jazz musicians than to bring jazz back to the home of jazz. Several students will also be spending their spring break building homes in NOLA with Habitat for Humanity. The portion of last night’s concert we witnessed was just the beginning of a 16 hour marathon session. They raised over $25,000 last night. As impressive as the music.

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